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COLUMN: Hey, knuckleheads, this ordinance is for you

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By BEN CARLSON

Column as I see ’em …

Well I certainly received my comeuppance in this week’s letters to the editor.

Not that I’m complaining. As those who work with me will attest, there is nothing more enjoyable to me than letter writers taking me to task on my columns or editorials.

Opinions are like, well, you know, and everyone has one, including me. While I certainly have a mighty big megaphone from which to shout each week, this page offers equal access to those who disagree.

Now that the county attorney has offered a rough draft of a dog ordinance, some of the objections of those who are sticking up for pit bulls should die down.

Those who wrote this week are dog-lovers to the end, and will take up the cause for any breed. For that, I commend each of you.

It’s likely that they will want the ordinance modified, but I can’t see how they would object to some firm parameters being placed on pit bulls and vicious dogs in general.

Not everyone will be happy, though. There will be no shortage of people who contend their pit bull is as harmless as a kitten. They’ll complain about having to buy insurance, getting a microchip, having their dog fixed, etc. (For more on this see page A1.)

Instead of being angry at the fiscal court, though, they should look at the handful of their fellow pit bull owners and thank those rotten apples for spoiling the entire barrel.

Throughout this debate, I’ve had several people I respect a great deal (some of whom are pretty steamed at me about this topic, by the way) tell me that they are convinced that dog fighting with pit bulls is commonplace here.

No, not Michael Vick style, but a few good old boys getting together in someone’s barn, crushing beers and letting their dogs go at it.

If this ordinance accomplishes anything, I hope it forces these dog-abusing knuckleheads into giving up their dogs because you know they can’t or won’t pay up to meet whatever new ordinance is passed.

Speaking of going at it, while too late for a full report in this week’s paper Judge-Executive Steve Cornish and several magistrates got into a spirited debate Tuesday over the proposed county budget.

The writing was already on the wall when Cornish put together a budget that went against a vote last year to shovel the $100,000 the county no longer gives the Extension, along with $40,000 in rent the Extension now pays into county roads and debt service on the park.

Magistrates John Wayne Conway and Forrest Dale Stevens lobbied hard to allow the Extension to have its owning taxing authority, and made it clear that they wanted the money the fiscal court saved as a result used on roads and debt.

After being peppered for nearly a half hour by Stevens over a variety of budget items including a comment that Cornish was “hiding” money in several budget line items, Cornish clearly became agitated and said some of the magistrates were making the process personal. Stevens attempted to interrupt the judge who quickly cut him off.

“I let you speak, now you’re going to let me speak,” said Cornish.

High drama, indeed. I’ll give you all a full story in next week’s paper.

Speaking of high drama, I remain amazed at how people on the periphery of Lea Beasmore’s sexual discrimination suit — you know, the sex toy and porn allegations — against the judge-executive and fiscal court continue to try to position the issue.

Some tell me the whole thing is much ado about nothing, and that she’s just bitter about being fired.

Others say they have no doubt that at least some of her allegations are true.

I haven’t figured out why either side is trying to sway my opinion. I can’t think of anyone who would be more readily dismissed were I to be called for jury duty. I’m not sure the court would even bother to mail me the notice.

The truth, though, probably lies somewhere in between, and it will be interesting to see how this comes out if it ever makes its way into open court.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.